Thursday, February 16, 2012

Governor McDonnell Announces That VDOT Meets or Exceeds All Project Completion and Budget Goals for the First Time in Two Years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2012
Office of the Governor
Contact: Jeff Caldwell
Phone: (804) 225-4260
Email: Jeff.Caldwell@Governor.Virginia.Gov

Virginia Department of Transportation
Contact: Tamara Rollison
Phone: (804) 786-2715
Email: Tamara.Rollison@VDOT.Virginia.Gov

Governor McDonnell Announces That VDOT Meets or Exceeds All Project Completion and Budget Goals for the First Time in Two Years

Report for second quarter of FY 2012 now available

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) met its goals for completing all construction and maintenance projects both on time and on budget during the period of October through December 2011—the second quarter of its 2012 fiscal year—the first time the agency has met all of these goals since FY 2010.

VDOT released these results in its most recent quarterly report card during the monthly meeting of the Commonwealth Transportation Board on Wednesday, Feb. 15. The report is available at www.virginiadot.org.

“In every part of VDOT’s business, the agency aims to be transparent and report performance data so the public is informed on how their tax dollars are being managed,” said Governor McDonnell. “I’m pleased to report that VDOT is on-time and on-budget for all VDOT-managed construction and maintenance projects during this quarter. This is especially significant since so many additional projects and project phases are under way following our historic investment in transportation made during last year’s General Assembly session, advancing more than 900 projects. VDOT’s continued focus on delivering projects on time and on budget is ensuring that taxpayers’ investments in transportation are achieving the greatest possible benefit.”

Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton added, “As VDOT has transformed into a leaner, more efficient agency, it is a great achievement that it is once again meeting these project and budget targets to provide Virginia with the best return on the investment of our transportation funding.”

According to the report, VDOT had 340 maintenance and construction projects due for completion during the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2011. Of those contracts, 262, or 77.1 percent, were completed both on time and within budget. The target was 77 percent.

VDOT completed 87 percent of its construction projects (47 out of 54) on time, surpassing its 75 percent target for the quarter. The agency completed 79.7 percent of its maintenance projects (or 228 out of 286) on time, exceeding the 77 percent goal. Of the 51 construction projects completed by the end of the second quarter of FY 2012, VDOT completed 50, or 98 percent, within budget, exceeding its target of 82 percent.

VDOT completed 93 percent of its maintenance contracts within budget, or 252 out of 270, exceeding the target of 90 percent. The construction quality rating for the quarter was 90.4 percent, which came in just under the 91 percent target. This measurement tracks VDOT’s commitment to building quality roads and bridges while seeking opportunity for continuous improvement.

“This achievement is a testament to the dedication of our VDOT employees who have made sure that we once again are meeting or surpassing both our on-time and on-budget targets,” said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. “I am also proud that we are doing everything we can to keep drivers safe on Virginia’s roads and highways.”

In a major effort to provide public access to VDOT’s performance measurements, the agency began releasing quarterly reports and launched its Dashboard nine years ago. The Dashboard is an online system that provides up-to-date status on VDOT’s measures for safety, road conditions, finances, traffic congestion, customer satisfaction, management and project performance.

To review the Dashboard, visit, http://dashboard.virginiadot.org/default.aspx

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Tim Kaine: "I'm doing what the President wants me to do".

Remind you of anyone? Hap Connors perhaps?

http://www.varight.com/news/tim-kaine-im-doing-what-the-president-wants-me-to-do/

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At Crossover, Governor McDonnell’s Legislative Initiatives Move Forward with Broad Bipartisan Support

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2012
Contact: Jeff Caldwell
Phone: (804) 225-4260
Email: Jeff.Caldwell@Governor.Virginia.Gov

At Crossover, Governor McDonnell’s Legislative Initiatives Move Forward with Broad Bipartisan Support

Major legislative initiatives in job creation, K-12 education, higher education, pension system reform, transportation, veteran’s issues, public safety, and government reform advance at half-way point

RICHMOND – At the half-way point of the 2012 General Assembly Session, a vast majority of Governor Bob McDonnell’s legislative initiatives, which focus on strengthening the core functions of government to spur private sector job creation and get Virginia’s economy back on track, have passed their respective houses with broad bipartisan support and will now be considered in the opposite chamber.

Governor McDonnell’s legislative initiatives are focused on eight major areas: jobs and economic development, K-12 education, higher education, pension system reform, government reform, transportation, public safety, and efforts to make Virginia the most veteran-friendly state in America:·

“The Greatest Opportunity” jobs and economic development agenda to increase access to capital for business and implement greater coordination among economic development entities, along with budget items increasing the support of job creation funds and initiatives·

“Opportunity to Learn” K-12 education reform agenda focused on raising standards for schools and teachers; reducing mandates on local school divisions; expanding educational options for Virginia students; enhancing teacher quality; and funding for critical education and training programs·

Higher education reforms and investment to prepare Virginians for top jobs, boost job-creating research and innovation, make college degrees more affordable for students, and advance toward the governor’s goal of having 100,000 more Virginians earn degrees in the next 15 years·

“A More Efficient, Effective Government” reform measures that streamline and merge certain state agencies, boards and commissions; and, reduces unfunded mandates on localities·

Virginia Retirement System (VRS) legislative reform initiatives to address the long-term unfunded liabilities of the system and a budget proposal to inject the largest employer contribution to VRS in history·

Transportation measures that provide additional funding for maintaining Virginia’s infrastructure and will continue the administration’s efforts to ensure greater accountability and transparency in Virginia’s transportation entities while delivering transportation projects more quickly and cost effectively·

Public safety measures that provide tough mandatory minimum sentences for repeat drug dealers and life sentences for sex offenders who prey on children; further protect victims of crime; streamline procedures for Virginia’s asset forfeiture laws; reduce recidivism; improve successful prisoner re-entry programs; and, strengthen the response to emergencies and ensure maximum protection for victims·

Veterans measures that ensure that all members of the Virginia National Guard receive in-state tuition; improve absentee ballot access for overseas military; and guarantee that unclaimed remains of veterans receive honorable burials

Speaking about his 2012 legislative agenda, Governor McDonnell commented, “This session, we laid out bold initiatives all focused around a common goal of getting our economy back on track and helping spur private sector job growth. I am pleased to see that these major initiatives are advancing at the half-way point of session. We are focused on getting results on the major challenges facing our citizens. That means passing policies that help the private sector create good-paying jobs; increase access to higher education; further improve our high-quality K-12 education; build a transportation system that best serves its users; make government smaller and smarter; help our veterans here at home; and ensure our citizens are safe and secure.

The General Assembly has rallied around our initiatives in these areas and passed them with bipartisan support, and I thank them for their partnership with us. These are initiatives that will greatly improve the quality of life in Virginians today while also investing in the future of the Commonwealth.”

Governor McDonnell continued, “This year, we are on track to pass innovative education reform legislation that will increase educational options for our children and strengthen classroom learning so that every child has access to great teachers, high standards, and programs that will pave the road to success upon graduation. We are continuing to advance important jobs and economic development legislation that builds on this administration’s top priority – ensuring that more Virginians can find good jobs. It is critical that we continue to invest in job creating measures and tools so that businesses are able to grow and thrive here in the Commonwealth.

Making government smaller and more efficient and effective for all Virginians is an important initiative of this administration. We are advancing proposals to get the Virginia Retirement System in a stronger position both legislatively and through a budget proposal to make the largest employer contribution to VRS in history. Building off the good work of the Governor’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring we are advancing legislation that will make government work better by consolidating duplicative state agencies, boards and commissions, eliminating outdated programs and reducing operating expenses.

Also part of our government reform agenda is legislation to reduce burdensome unfunded mandates the state sends down to localities. Finally, we are advancing legislation that ensures that our streets remain safe so that businesses and families continue to choose to make the Commonwealth home, as well as legislation to help reach our goal of making Virginia the most veteran-friendly state in America.”

Governor McDonnell concluded, “There is one central theme among all of this legislation – and that is job creation. By ensuring that our children are receiving a high-quality education so that they are prepared for the jobs of the 21st century, continuing to invest in private sector job creation initiatives, reducing the size and scope of government to best utilize tax-payers hard earned money, and making sure that we are best serving those who protect our freedom at home and abroad, we are setting Virginia on the right course today to get more Virginians back to work, while also preparing the Commonwealth for success in the future.”

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"Great Achievement:" Small Business Not Hiring, Owners Cite Healthcare, Government Regulations

-- Gallup finds healthcare costs, new government rules keeps biz from hiring --

A new poll released by Gallup this morning found that small businesses for the most part simply aren't hiring. Why not? Nearly half say they're worried about the cost of health care and new government regulations.

Lots of new government regulations on health care? Tim Kaine thought that was a great idea - indeed, a "great achievement." That's something Tim Kaine didn't mention when he was talking to business leaders in Loudoun County this week.

Tim Kaine Says Health Care Reform Is One Of Obama's Greatest Achievements

What does he think now that health care and government regulations are keeping small business from hiring?

Small Business Owners Cite Health Care Costs, Government Regulations As Major Impediments To Job Creation and Growth.

"Additionally, nearly half of small-business owners point to potential healthcare costs (48%) and government regulations (46%) as reasons. One in four are not hiring because they worry they may not be in business in 12 months. ... Although some small businesses in selected industries and markets have been growing, the weak economy of the past four years has limited overall small-business growth. ... Given this difficult operating environment, it is not surprising that many small-business owners also worry about potential new healthcare costs and government regulations. While small businesses are always finding ways to deal with their changing operating environment, including government regulations and healthcare, these added challenges can be seen as exacerbating an already uncertain and difficult situation. In turn, they become additional reasons to hold back on hiring." Gallup

Jim Cramer: Every CEO I Deal With Is Worried About ObamaCare's Negative Impact On The Economy, Jobs. "What I'm telling you, business leaders fear [Obamacare] more than anything. They don't want to hire ... People have to recognize that this is a front and center issue for every CEO I deal with and another reason why they don't want to hire here and they want to hire there. ... That's a major debate for the economy." National Review

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